March 26, 2014
If you're looking for seven magical tips to guarantee immediate increases in corn yields on your farm in 2014, keep looking. You won't find any guarantees here. You might not even think these tips are much more than simple reminders about minor details.
You're right – that's exactly what they are – simple reminders about details. There are so many ways to boost corn yields, or to avoid pitfalls that could lead to lower corn yields. Really, increasing corn yields consists of overturning every rock in the field and using the information you find to improve your system, no matter how trivial the suggestion seems.
Avoid this mess! Consider good burndown programs and using residual herbicides instead of letting weeds get a jump before you spray herbicides. If they do, your high corn yields could just be wishful thinking.
Dave Nanda, long-time plant breeder, provides these seven tips. Nanda is currently Director of Genetics and Technology for Seed Consultants, Inc.
1. Consider minimum tillage or no-till: These systems fit especially well on erodible land. They help in conserving moisture, and they minimize both soil erosion and the possibility of soil compaction. That can keep corn yields high.
2. Be realistic: If you're setting your yield goal to meet that one year in 10 based on past yield performance, you might ned to rethink your strategy. Keep corn yield goals realistic. Goals based on 2012 or 2013 alone will be unrealistic. Use the last five-year average as a guide instead.
3. Study yield maps: It's time to put those maps to work. Analyze your data field by field. Consult with your seed company representative. Try to match corn hybrids with soil type.
4. Do soil and tissue tests: Complete soil and/or tissue testing at the right times. Work with a consultant and follow his or her advice.
5. Fertilize to match your yield goal: Make sure to compensate for nutrients removed by high yields last year.
6. Maintain proper levels of key nutrients: Make sure you apply correct amounts of phosphate, potash and sulfur based on soil and tissue test results.
7. Control weeds early: Last but certainly not least, plan to knock out weeds as early as possible. When weeds grow with corn, corn loses! If corn loses, you lose!
Every decision that you make influences the size and scope for corn yields. From the corn hybrid you select to the seeding rate and row width you choose. Download our FREE report over Maximizing Your Corn Yield.
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